EDMONTON â€” Adarius Bowman chose the comforts of home over potential free agency.
The veteran receiver signed a one-year contract extension Tuesday that will keep him with the Edmonton Eskimos through the 2018 season. A three-time CFL all-star, Bowman would’ve been a hot commodity on the free-agent market after the ’17 season but the Tennessee native feels Alberta is home now.
“Edmonton is my happy place right now so I try and stay here as much as possible,” Bowman told reporters. “It only makes sense, this is home for me now.”
The six-foot-three, 215-pound Bowman had a team-record 120 catches last year for a league-leading 1,759 yards with nine TDs. He added six receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs.
Bowman made his CFL debut with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2008 and spent two years with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers before signing with the Eskimos as a free agent in January 2011.
But Bowman, 31, said Edmonton is where he has matured as a player and person.
“For me, the city of Edmonton gave me the opportunity to grow,” he said. “They welcomed me as a young man and I felt like I got the opportunity to become a man, on and off the field.
“You can’t get comfortable in football but I have a comfort. I like coming to work. I like waking up in Edmonton, I like going out and being around the city so for me a lot of growth. That’s why I think I’m sitting here today.”
In nine CFL seasons, Bowman has 568 receptions for 8,490 yards and 43 touchdowns.
Despite Bowman’s outstanding 2016 season, the Eskimos couldn’t successfully defend their Grey Cup title. Edmonton finished fourth in the West Division with a 10-8 record.
The Eskimos defeated Hamilton 24-21 in the East Division semifinal before losing a 35-23 conference final decision to Ottawa in a rematch of the 2015 Grey Cup game.
The 2016 season was a learning one for the Eskimos under first-year head coach Jason Maas. With Maas having a season under his belt, Bowman is optimistic about Edmonton’s future.
“We had to take a little time with understanding each other, feeling each other out,” he said. “I think we’ve got it now so that’s the excitement about next year.
“We don’t have to use half of the season getting to know one another. We can go straight into playing. I’m pretty sure I know coach Mass, he’s probably in the office right now writing out things.”
The Canadian Press